I'm not religious anymore, but I used to be a Catholic. The Catholic Church is always involved in politics, and it hasn't always been involved on it for the sake of the Greater Glory of Christ, to say the least. Not only have we had "high politics", Richelieu, Mazarino, the Papal States, et cetera, but also rebellious priests who take up arms and nuns who do almost the same. Then in Paraguay there's a former bishop who ran for president and won, and is jokingly called "The Father of All Paraguayans", in view of the many children he fathered while still a bishop.
And, of course, who can ignore the involvement in politics shown by the Iranians and muslims in general.
Yet I think it's the sense of that political involvement that's bad, NOT the political involvement itself. It is easy to say you won't get involved in politics when your church only has seven million members and you'd rather go unnoticed so they won't mess with you. Try saying that when you have 700 million members, have been influential enough to shape the destiny of at least two continents, and, whether you like it or not, your opinions do matter. It would be a huge irresponsibility and not very Christian, to say the least.
Once, while still a Catholic, I did the terrible thing of watching a movie featuring Liv Ullmann. (Her acting was wonderful; the movie was terrible because of how anti-Catholic it was). The movie was about Pope Joan. For those of you who might not know it, Pope Joan is supposed to have been a woman who was appointed as Pope. The movie has many scenes that a good Catholic should not watch, like, for example, one where Pope Joan is introduced to the pleasures of the flesh by other monks, though, at the time, monks and nuns used to marry each other. But the scene is shocking to present-day Catholics anyways. Joan shaves her hair to look like a man and escape rape in England. She then finds it necessary to keep pretending she is a man. She goes to Rome, where the Pope makes "him" his private assistant. And the Pope makes Joan a cardinal.
When Joan asks the Pope why, the Pope answers that half the cardinals have taken the side of the king of France, and the other half the side of one of the kings of Italy. If any of the two sides gets one of their own to be the new Pope, the other side will be killed. So the Pope needs someone who doesn't belong to either side to maintain the balance. And that someone is Joan.
Joan then asks the Pope why it is that the Church has States and earthly riches and is not more concerned about the Heavens. The Pope says he agrees that the Church shouldn't have any countries of its own (not convincingly, in my opinion), but that he can't do much about it. If he gives the lands to a weak king, he says, then someone stronger will make the pope his subject. And, if he gives the Papal States to a strong king, he's as good as dead anyways. So the Papal states have to continue to exist.
Whether the story is true or not, the points raised are valid. If you think you can live in this world and not play a political role, then you'd better be very small and live in seclusion. Be unimportant so the real powers won't mess with you.
Once I heard a certain story, while still a Catholic. This peasant had been a missionary and had been working in the mountains of a country I won't identify. In that small town, all farmers sold their crops to the same person, who happened to be the only person with enough economic literacy to close deals. That power allowed him to buy at the price he wanted. The priest noticed the huge evil this represented, and set to it to create a cooperative that would help every peasant sell at a better price. It wasn't long before he got expelled out of the country, on the excuse that he was meddling with politics. He probably was; he had got the farmers organized and they were playing a role terribly close to that of Communist regimes. Did the priest do a bad thing?
John Paul II is not loved outside the Catholic Church. Yet he was instrumental, essential, in demolishing that huge machine of misery and suffering called the Iron Curtain. Millions and millions of people were suffering under those governments. I am sure he didn't do that without getting his hands extremely dirty. Was that the wrong thing to do?
When Pius XII was the Pope, he could have saved many Jews, if only he had decided to go against Hitler, instead of accomodating him. He chose to accomodate Hitler. Was that right?
Let's use another example. Let's talk about abortion, a controversial subject anywhere. If you have enough voters to swing legislation in one sense, and you claim to be against abortion on religious grounds, should you NOT vote against it, and leave the decision to others?
In my humble opinion, the servants of God should endeavor to make this world a better place. That includes getting their hands dirty and getting involved in politics.
And then, a reality check. It is easy to say that you won't get involved in politics because you don't want to be part of this world. Yet you WILL be part of this world, and you have to survive in it. If you were the Pope, could you claim that the coming of Christ is imminent, after two thousand years of waiting for him to return? Of course you can't. You have to tell people to find a way to survive in this world. That includes politics.
My two cents.